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Next Match: Guernsey Raiders vs North Walsham | Match Preview

Next Match: Guernsey Raiders vs North Walsham | Match Preview

Zoe Collins23 Mar - 12:09
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Raiders will not be taking anything for granted when they host National Two East’s bottom side today.

Photo Credit: Guernsey Sport Photography

This first appeared in the Guernsey Press.

Raiders will not be taking anything for granted when they host National Two East’s bottom side today.

North Walsham have picked up just one win and a draw from their 22 games this campaign, but that victory came earlier this month against Henley and the Norfolk club have been increasingly competitive since the turn of the year.

‘North Walsham are a very different team to the one who came here last season,’ said Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.

‘They had about a dozen players leave or retire last summer and they brought in a really new squad who struggled at the start of the season, but when we went there in November it was a tough game, they put us under a lot of pressure and we had to score a bonus-point try right at the end to seal the win.

‘They have improved all season and if you look at some of their other results, they went to Dorking, where we had a miserable time, and they managed to score 33 points and they beat Henley, which we haven’t done for a couple of years.

‘North Walsham play a very chaotic style and it can almost force teams to buy into playing it against them, but it is like I have said before, you do not want to take on the Fijians at Fijian rugby, so the real discipline for us is to keep within our structures and our percentage plays.

‘We have to make sure we play at our tempo.’

That tempo might also be dictated by the conditions, with strong winds and rain showers expected.

Taking that into account, Guernsey have opted to put four forwards among the five replacements.

‘We are looking at this game but also the break we have next week, so this is a good opportunity to pick up the intensity knowing that we have a week off after it,’ Reynolds said.

‘The weather forecast is for it to be quite wet and windy, so we feel it could be a slower game and we think we have got the cover right in this squad.’

With Raiders still targeting their best ever finish in National Two East, a bonus-point victory is the aim today, but Reynolds emphasised that patience will be key to achieving that.

‘If you look at what we did against Westcombe Park, it was built on our defence being ferocious and from that we managed to score five tries.

‘The weather makes it more difficult [to score tries], but it is not unachievable.

‘If we can play in the right areas and be patient, it gives us a chance to come away with that bonus point, but a lot of hard graft and work is needed before that.

‘I believe this league is the hardest we have played in ... the competition is really tight and there is no easy game. We have to be on our game.’

Raiders against North Walsham kicks off at 3pm today at Footes Lane.

Guernsey Raiders:
Dunn, Ceillam, Currie, Hillier, Webb, Creber, Rice, Culverhouse, Boyland, Simmonds, Smith, Teasdale, C McGann, N McGann, Roberts. Replacements: Steventon, Burger, Phelan, Hackett, Rutledge.

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